Tuesday, September 8, 2015
'Rake' S3 DVD: Cleaver (Barely) Wards Off Total Disaster in Final Season
The third season of the modern Australian dramedy "Rake," which uber-awesome North American purveyor of British and Australian series and films BFS Entertainment makes available on DVD, achieves an apt trifecta for a third and final season of any television program from any nation. Please note that this series is not the American version starring Greg Kinnear.
Folks who either are unfamiliar with this best Australian export since Hugh Jackman or who need a refresher course on the lore of the program are invited to read the Unreal TV reviews of the first and second seasons of the show.
The aforementioned perfect combination of three elements consists of intertwining every element of the personal, professional, and sexual lives of recklessly hedonistic central character/shameless criminal attorney Cleaver Greene, making that textbook moral reprobate very appealing, and pulling off a series finale that wraps up most loose ends and stays very true to the spirit of the program. Formal recognition of that exceptional quality includes a couple of "Best Actor" awards for Greene portrayor Richard Roxburgh and comparable love for the ensemble in this series.
A woefully incomplete list of the aforementioned entanglements include Greene contending with his ex-wife selling their former home to move in with the ex-husband of the woman whose relationship with the teen son of Greene predates her divorce, Greene continually wrangling with the Member of Parliament (MP) who is the ex-fiance of the former prostitute with whom Greene has a simultaneous personal/professional relationship (and who is a former client regarding a murder charge), and Greene trying to maintain a professional and personal relationship with a boss with whom he has a prior sexual relationship that overlaps with her marriage to a professional colleague/best friend of Greene. Said boss having an adulterous affair with the aforementioned MP is only one of several additional overlaps that is beyond the scope of this summary.
The "its complicated" relationships described above further show that fiction in the right hands can be exponentially more spectacular than fact.
The third season picks up where the second season cliffhanger leaves off . This season premiere and the episodes that follow provide a strong vibe of the second season ending with a mid-season episode and the remaining episodes being the second half of that season. Mini third-season cliffhangers include a highly unexpected hostage situation and a "Perry Mason" style courtroom confession.
The first two episodes of this season resolve the aforementioned cliffhanger of the prior one and get the events that have been derailing the everyday life of Greene back on track. His replenished rogues gallery of clients include an especially reprehensible mother, a pair of elderly scamps who find themselves on the wrong end of a murder charge, and a newly out sports celebrity who simultaneously comes out regarding using illegal steroids. National politics involving folks in the orbit of Greene provides the background to all this.
Memorable courtroom scenes include Greene shamelessly pandering to an elderly jury and frantically rushing between three simultaneous legal proceedings in a separate episode. The physical obstacles that he faces in that one and the related significant events that he inadvertently sets in motion greatly contribute to the humor in it.
The award for best humor related to the personal life of Greene goes to a story line that has him continuously being suspected of domestic abuse due to a series of incidents in which he hilariously (but entirely accidentally) causes his latest lady friend numerous serious injuries. Including one cliche regarding this abuse makes this plot particularly amusing.
All of this adds up to a show with broad appeal that one can only hope gets a Christmas special.
Anyone with questions or comments regarding "Rake" is strongly encouraged to email me; you can also connect on Twitter via @tvdvdguy.